By Paeter Frandsen, Spirit Blade Productions
Director Bryan Singer is well known for directing the fantastic geek-genre movies X-men and X-2. Though he took a misstep with Superman Returns, despite some wonderful things he brought to the iconic character. Now he returns to geek genre film-making with Jack The Giant Slayer, which opened to a weak box office and may soon make a quiet exit from theaters if Oz The Great And Powerful successfully overshadows it.
So is this another stumble from Singer, or a gem getting bad press that you should run and see before it vanishes?
The story centers are humble farm boy Jack and his love interest Isabella, princess of the local kingdom. Both feel trapped in their respective lives and long for adventure. Adventure soon finds them when ancient magical artifacts resurface that create a vertical bridge to a world of giants, long-forgotten by men but not by the giants, who relish the opportunity to dine on their favorite food... human.
Let's just cut to the chase, shall we? This movie was incredibly, enormously and persistently mediocre. It was so intensely average from beginning to end that within the first fifteen minutes I knew I'd be itching for the credits to roll for the rest of the movie.
The script was formulaic, the characters simplistic and unrealistically motivated. Attempts at humor were bland. CGI was plentiful and looked barely more realistic than a Pixar movie. (As I feel with The Avengers "Hulk", I think they could have done much better by hiring actors, putting them in great make-up, and then adjusting their size and proportions digitally as done in Captain America.) On that note, I think this movie could have been much better as a computer animated "family" movie. With the removal of a few of the darker elements and some skilled comedic animators, actors and writers, this movie could have turned out like another Shrek. But as a live-action film it completely failed to earn my investment in the story or characters.
There were a few indications that the story might play with some interesting religious themes. The original discovery of the giants came from a group of monks attempting to find God in the heavens. And a giant asks a potential victim if they believe in God. But if these tidbits were going anywhere, they were victims of too many cooks in the writing kitchen (three or more credited screenwriters is not often a good sign) and fizzled out before getting off the ground.
If you're a die-hard, have-to-see-every-fantasy-movie kind of geek, put this on your bucket list. Otherwise you're not missing out. In summary, "Fee fi fo fum, what should have been great turned out ho-hum".
Rated PG-13 for intense scenes of fantasy action violence, some frightening images and brief language.